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CDC: Flu Epidemic Continues to Grow

01 February 2017

The Centers for Disease Control says 25,000 cases of flu have already been reported in 37 states and we're not even at peak season yet.

Although this year's flu season appears to be an average one so far, more hospitalizations are being reported and deaths are increasing, federal health officials reported Friday.

A major reason for the upsurge in cases was the low uptake of flu immunizations by the public.

"We are not at peak activity yet, but we are fast approaching the influenza peak, which will probably be in three to four weeks", said Thomas Haupt, the influenza surveillance coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

"If you got vaccinated in October you are fully vaccinated for the influenza season", Bocchini said. Eight pediatric deaths have also been reported - the first confirmed in MS, according to the state's health department. In the 2015-2016 flu season, the CDC reported 89 pediatric deaths associated with the flu, a number that fell from the total of 148 deaths reported during the 2014-2015 flu season. "All indicators suggest that the current flu vaccine is a good match for the flu strains in MS". More simply said, the herd must be immunized to have herd immunity and this did not happen this year.

This year's vaccine contains all the circulating viruses, she noted. He recommends that people constantly wash their hands, and he says it's not too late to get a flu shot.

Also, mothers of newborns need a flu shot to help protect their infants, who can't be vaccinated until they're 6 months old.

Most years, the vaccine is between 40 percent and 60 percent effective, according to the CDC.

"It's very important to stay home when you're sick so you don't infect others", added Dr. Byers. Tamiflu and Relenza are effective if taken early. Death rates fluctuate annually, but have gone as high as 49,000 in a year, according to the CDC.